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The CV-21 USS Boxer is a 27,100-ton aircraft carrier of the Essex class, and was commissioned in April of 1945. The initial training was not completed until after World War II ended, but she was on active duty in the Pacific after the war. In all, there were 10 deployments of the USS Boxer to the Western Pacific between 1945 and 1957.

Korean War

In June of 1950, the USS Boxer had just recently returned from one such deployment and then the Korean War broke out. She was used to carry personnel and planes from the Navy and Air Force into the war zone, and was then put into combat service during September and October of that year.

After three additional Korean War deployments between 1951 and 1953, the USS Boxer was assigned to serve with the Seventh Fleet as an attack carrier for two cruises. In early 1956 she was converted into an anti-submarine warfare vessel and made her final deployment to the Western Pacific as such.

Final Days

USS Boxer was used in 1957 as part of an experimental assault helicopter ship, and then became the flagship for Operation Hardtack in 1958. She then went on to become part of the Atlantic Fleet and operated as part of the U.S. amphibious warfare capabilities through the next decade. After a short stint in Vietnam, she was decommissioned in 1969 and sold for scrapping in 1971.

CV-21 Deployments - Major Events

Add a CV-21 Shellback Initiation Add a CV-21 Deployment - Major Event
Month Year to Month Year Deployment / Event
SEP 1943 - Keel Date: 13 SEP 1943
at Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. Newport News VA
JAN 1944 - NOV 1946 Commisioning
JAN 1944 - JAN 1945 Panama Canal
DEC 1944 - Launch Date: 14 DEC 1944
APR 1945 - Commissioned: 16 APR 1945
SEP 1945 - SEP 1946 Initial Far East Cruise
SEP 1945 - Shellback Initiation - 21 SEP 1945 - Pacific Ocean
APR 1950 - Shellback Initiation - 16 APR 1950 - Pacific Ocean
OCT 1954 - FEB 1955 Dry Dock
JAN 1955 - JAN 1957 Middle Pacific
OCT 1958 - OCT 1958 Panama Canal
NOV 1958 - DEC 1958 Dry Dock
DEC 1969 - Decommissioned: 1 DEC 1969

CV-21 General Specifications

Class: Essex-class aircraft carrier

Named for: HMS Boxer (1812)

Complement: 3448 Officers and Enlisted

Length: 888 feet

Draft: 28 feet 7 inches

Flank Speed: 33 knots


The fifth Boxer (CV-21) was launched 14 December 1944 by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. Newport News Va.; sponsored by Miss Ruth D. Overton daughter of the Senator from Louisiana and commissioned 16 April 1945 Captain D. F. Smith in command.

Completed too late to take part in World War II Boxer joined the Pacific Fleet at San Diego in August 1945. From September 1945 to 23 August 1946 she operated out of Guam as flagship of TF 77 in the Western Pacific. During this tour she visited Japan Okinawa the Philippines and China. She returned to San Francisco 10 September 1946 and operated off the west coast engaged in normal peacetime duty until departing for the Far East 11 January 1950. After service with the 7th Fleet in the Far East during the first half of 1950 she returned to San Diego arriving 25 June.

With the outbreak of the Korean conflict she was pressed into service to carry planes to the fighting. During 14-22 July 1950 she made a record crossing of the Pacific 8 1/2 days with 150 Air Force and Navy planes and a thousand troops. On her return trip (27 July-4 August) she cut the record to 7 days 10 hours and 36 minutes. After fast repairs she departed for the Far East 24 August this time to join TF 77 in giving air support to the troops. Her planes supported the landing at Inchon (15 September 1950) and other ground action until November when she departed for the west coast and overhaul.

Boxer departed San Diego for her second Korean tour 2 March 1951. Again she operated with TF 77 supporting the ground troops. She returned to San Francisco 24 October 1951. Sailing 8 February 1952 for her third tour in Korea Boxer again served with TF 77. During 23-24 June her planes took part in the heavy strikes against the North Korean hydro-electric complex and on 5 August she had nine men killed and two seriously injured in a fire which swept the hangar deck. After emergency repairs at Yokosuka Japan (11-23 August) Boxer returned to duty off Korea. She arrived at San Francisco 25 September and underwent repairs until March 1953.

The carrier departed for the Far East 30 March 1953 and went into action a month later. She took part in the final actions of the Korean conflict and remained in Asiatic waters until November. Since the end of the Korean fighting Boxer has cruised off the west coast and has made three cruises to the Far East. Boxer was reclassified CVA-21 in October 1952 and CVS-21 15 November 1955.

Boxer received eight battle stars for her service off Korea.

[Note: The above USS BOXER (CV-21) history may or may not contain text provided by crew members of the USS BOXER (CV-21) or by other non-crew members and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]